Winter Skeletons

The snow has fallen and Jack Frost has visited on several occasions. Me and the size sixes decided to take a tour with our recording friend, the camera.

This trip had us wondering about the yard to check on the plants and bushes that grow there. It seems to be an odd time of year to take stock of what flourishes within the confines of the walks, but it tells a different story than the other seasons.

The Peonies have two spots they call home, the front bed and the rogue garden. In the late spring their tight buds appear and slowly open to fluttering petals of deep pink. The ever-present ants scurry hither and yon feeding on their sweet nectar. The blooms don’t last nearly long enough, yet the aftermath of the following seasons is gorgeous.

peony, leaf, fall, gold, brown, Ann Edall-Robson
Peony Leaves

Southern exposure is hot and merciless in the summer and in the winter. The plants that reside in this spot need to be resilient because lack of snow for insulation puts them in a precarious situation of possible winter kill. The rule of thumb for all the plants that grow for me is, if they can’t make it on their own, they should not be part of my garden. This theory has worked for years and I have some lovely blooms and green foliage that return year after year.

Monkshood will look after itself and has made a good flower bed end with their long stocks and bushy bottom leaves.

monks, hood, winter, brown, snow, Ann Edall-Robson
Monks Hood in Winter

One of the most prolific self seeding plants in the front flower bed is the beautiful Flax.  Thousands of little black seeds explode from the pods and are spread on the wind to continue propagating.

flax, seed, pods, fall, winter, brown, Ann Edall-Robson
Flax Seed Pods

Spindly skeletons are all that is left of the Daisies at this time of year.  Their blooms are few and they probably need to be moved to a place more to their liking. Note made to self to investigate another venue when the snow is gone.

daisy, shashta, fall, winter, brown, beige, Ann Edall-Roson
Daisy Skeletons

The rogue garden houses all things that have not found their forever home.  Here we have one of the Peonies, a black raspberry cane or two, some chives that have somehow migrated here, a clump of Yarrow, pink Phlox, Joe Pie Weed and numerous Hollyhocks. It is the Hollyhocks that leave us with showy dead stuff on their tall stoic stalks.

hollyhock, red, bloom, froze, frost, fall, winter, flower, bloom, Ann Edall-Robson
Frosted Hollyhock

Leaving berries on the shrubs is not laziness, but selfishness. The birds get to enjoy the fruits not harvested and we get the enjoyment of seeing these fine feathered friends visiting.

gooseberry, ripe, red, frost, snow, ice, winter, fall, fruit, Ann Edall-Robson
Frosted Gooseberry

Sparrows and finches watch from a tree above the feeders. Their noisy chatter telling me that I am intruding on their lunch or that it is time to refill the empty bins. They flit and fly from branch to branch. Leaving the leafless tree to perch on the naked lilacs and gooseberry bushes before they take flight to their next dining experience.

In a few months, tiny spring shoots will start emerging to take their place in the yard. For now, the remnants of last summer will continue to be a haven for those that wish to feed and visit here over the cold winter months.

Until the warmth of the summer sun brings back the colour of the garden, stay warm.


Airdrie’s East Lake

winter, boot, sorel, size 6, snow
Winter Size Six

Me and my size sixes decided it was time to get out of house after all the excitement of opening Christmas presents.

Minus 17 degrees Celsius, clear blue sky and what looked to be little wind. For those that still think old school (like me), that is hovering near zero degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, my camera obligingly tagged along tucked deep within the layers of my comfortable old green barn coat.

Today, my walk took me to East Lake in hopes  of seeing some Chickadees and the odd animal track. I was disappointed to find neither on this afternoon out. The bold signs in the snow told me that more than animals had been taking advantage of the lake’s snow-covered frozen state.

herringbone, cross country ski, winter, snow, White
Cross Country Tracks

A previously cleared skating area was in need of another shovelling before a game of tag or shinny could be enjoyed. It made me smile to think of the fun that would be had on this natural outdoor rink.

ice rink, lake, frozen, natural, East Lake, Airdrie, Alberta
Outdoor Rink

Heading west along the path, and out of the shelter of the trees, the sun danced through the frozen tree limbs. Diamond ice crystals sparkled on the snow and floated on the wind. The hoar-frost not yet moved by the sun.

ice crystals, frozen, grass, snow, East Lake, Airdrie, Alberta
Ice Crystals

The wind had picked up from the Southeast and in the open area along the lake, the beauty of the day definitely took on a different feeling. Dressed in warm layers, the cold wind nipped at my cheeks that refused to stay covered by the hand knitted scarf that had arrived from far away neighbours.

The dropping temperature and thoughts of a hot cup of tea certainly encouraged my walking speed to increase. By the time I reached home, the temperature had dropped to minus 20 Celsius (-4 F) joined by the wind to make it feel like minus 30 (-16 F).

hoar frost, winter, grass, East Lake, Airdrie, Alberta
Frosted Grass

As fresh and invigorating as the weather had become, it did not prevent me from stopping to take pictures. All to become gorgeous reminders of my Christmas Day outing.

show, needles, winter, backlight, Airdrie, Alberta, East Lake
Snowy Needles
fir tree, frozen, hoar frost, back light, East Lake, Airdrie, Alberta
Frozen Branch

Frozen Fields

When it’s cold and the wind chill makes it colder, the day doesn’t seem so bad when the sun shines and the view makes you smile.

blue sky, snowy fields